1. TSA is now under martial law.
If, after almost fifteen years in practice, you still don’t know that going through airport security means taking off your shoes, taking out your laptop, and only packing liquids portioned for an American Girl doll, you don’t deserve to go to the Bahamas. This is a one strike policy. Screw up and you’ll be forcibly removed. Resisters will be loaded onto Super Shuttles and deposited in the nearest open field, where they will be left to survive off their full-sized hair care products and un-emptied water bottles. The results of these efforts will then be live-streamed, Hunger-Games-style on large monitors next to the departures board.
2. All flights will board back to front, in numerical order, with no special categories and no switching seats.
Anyone who lines up before the agent starts taking tickets or tries to jump to the front before their row is called, will be pink-tagged and gate-checked to their final destination.
If your carry-on does not fit quickly and easily into the overhead compartment, flight attendants will no longer take the time to remove it from the cabin and stow it underneath. Instead, your overstuffed roller-board will be given your non-refundable seat, and you will be forced to ride in the first class cloak closet. Please make sure the seatbelt is fastened low and tight across your bag before climbing into your rightful place behind the blue blazers and trench coats.
3. Leave. The seat. Alone.
If your hips are too wide to fit within the confines of the space provided, purchase another ticket. Do not raise the armrest to afford yourself more room. Similarly, if you cannot put the tray table down without reclining all the way to make way for your stomach, just hold your drink in your hand. We’re not judging, but we’re also not giving you any extra space.
4. Both center armrests belong to the poor bastard in the middle.
If said unfortunate human falls asleep with their head on the shoulder of a window or aisle passenger, let them be. However, if a window or aisle passenger falls asleep on the person in the middle, it is perfectly acceptable to shoulder-catapult them back awake.
5. Shoes or socks must be worn at all times.
No exceptions. Ever.
6. Airlines will now provide complimentary — but limited — alcoholic beverages.
Passengers will be given two drinks for every hour and a half of flying. This should lessen the annoyance of crying children and terrible in-flight entertainment without allowing the level of inebriation that forces emergency landings or prompts flight attendants to duct-tape passengers to their seat.
7. Headphones must be used with all electronics.
If what you are listening to can be heard outside your ears, then your headphones are not actually headphones but tiny little cheap-ass speakers annoying the shit out of everyone else in steerage. Turn it off, turn it down, or buy a better pair. Violators will have their devices confiscated and be forced to read in-flight magazines or the safety information card provided in the seat-back pocket. Please adjust the volume on your own headphones first before coming to the aid of a child.
8. Anyone caught kicking the seat in front of them will have their legs removed with an air-marshal-approved plastic butter knife.
Appendages can be held in the galley until it’s time to deplane.
9. When it’s time to deplane, wait your turn.
It is not acceptable to sneak out ahead of the people in front of you. Similarly, do not try to push the person at the aisle into the aisle so you can get six inches closer to getting off. No one is getting off. Ever. There is nothing even remotely sexy or convenient or pleasant about modern flying. Just chill the hell out.
10. Finally, after passengers have left the jet bridge and made their way to baggage claim, do not gather in a sweaty, hairy clump at the front of the chute.
Nobody wants to steal your commemorative cruise ship magnets or that talking toilet seat cover from Harry Potter World. Find a spot, stay there, and — like a Hogwarts charm — your bag will come directly to you. Similarly, if you have overpacked to the extent that your bag can no longer be lifted by a single human, you are not allowed to ask other passengers for help. You must try yourself, again and again, following the suitcase around the loop in a sadistic, Sisyphean display until you are finally asked to leave the terminal.
Passengers who ignore or defy any of the above policies will have their names etched permanently on a granite monument of no-fly. The only way to be stricken from the stone is for offending individuals to voluntarily exile themselves to the field of TSA violators (provided they are not already there), where they must successfully build and navigate a mock security check-point and in-flight obstacle course. Only if they emerge from these trials victorious — and with a quart-sized bag of fully-compliant toiletries — will they then will be given a second chance.